The winners of Costa Bassmaster High School Classic exhibition went to a high school team from Illinois.
Winning the high school title in impressive fashion was the team of Dailus Richardson and Trevor McKinney. The students from Benton High School in Illinois caught a five-bass limit weighing 18 pounds, 11 ounces from Lake Hudson, which is on the Grand River just below the Classic fishery.
Bailey Fain and Justin Selvidge of Lenoir High School in Tennessee took second place with two bass weighing 11-14. Daniel Jarvis and Hunter Silverstrim of the Queen City Bassmasters earned third place with two bass weighing 9-14. Fain and Selvidge caught the tournament’s biggest bass weighing 6-9.
Richardson and McKinney spent four days scouting the lake with fair success. They encountered relatively clear water and windy weather, two conditions that worked in favor of their strategy. All of that changed on tournament day when the same water turned muddy and calm.
“We had to go searching for clear water to make our pattern work,” said Richardson. “The water was really muddy on most of the lake.”
They found what they needed after running more than an hour from the launch ramp. The anglers concentrated in the back of a narrow creek where the water was clearer than the surrounding area.
The two lures chosen by the team to win the tournament have unusual back stories. McKinney went shopping Friday at the Bassmaster Classic Expo and found two lures to try Saturday. Those were a pair of Lucky Craft Skeet Reese SKT MR crankbaits.
“We knew a lot of fish around here are caught on square bill crankbait,” said McKinney.
Credit the spontaneous shopping trip for the win.
“In the first two casts, I caught keepers and knew we were on to something good,” said McKinney.
During practice, and without much success, McKinney used a 1/2-ounce Lunker Lure flipping jig. He pitched the jig around logs and laydown trees lining the shoreline.
Alternatively, Richardson used an unconventional lure for the time and place of the tournament. He described the lure as a small jighead attached to a tiny rotating spinner. Crappie anglers recognize the lure as a Road Runner jig.
Richardson is fond of the tiny lure because he hand pours the leadheads himself. As success continued on the square bill crankbait, both anglers eventually fished with the lure to complete a limit.
Primary casting targets were isolated pieces of wood along a rocky shoreline. The bass were likely using the area to migrate into shallow water and eventually spawn.
Top teams affiliated with the B.A.S.S. High School Nation earned the chance to compete in this tournament.
The Top two teams from the Costa Bassmaster High School Opens in the Southern, Central and Midwest regions qualified. The Top two teams from the Costa Bassmaster High School National Championship held last August on Kentucky Lake automatically qualified. Meeting the same criteria were the top teams from the exhibition event held at the 2015 GEICO Bassmaster Classic presented by GoPro. The final two teams invited were the best two teams from the host state of Oklahoma.